After getting the domain name, your next most important concern is getting a Good server. And yes it’s justified, a lot (lot) depends on your servers.
Especially because they also cost a handsome amount of money, so it’s only fair that you get the best right? Value for money?
But ask yourselves, how many of you actually get into the technical details of the server companies you’re using? You check out the Brand name, you check out the price. Most companies have a very discounted sign up fees, so you go for it, only to regret later.
So this post should literally be your end to all of that, here I’m listing the features that you should be focusing on if you don’t want to burn a whole in your pocket with quality service at the same time.
Normally I go into lot’s of charts and data, but I’ll keep this one simple, you need good servers, and I’ll just show you how to spot one.
Features I’ll be covering:-
- Storage Space
- Domains & Subdomains.
- Server Upgrades.
- “Signup: Additional year” price ratio.
- Refund Policy.
- Cron Jobs
- Server Side Language support.
- Backup Options
- 1-Click script Installs.
One of the most overlooked factor, and also the factor that’s responsible for 80% of site downtimes.
You don’t need a lot of space; the average general space does for most medium-sized sites, but what about Bandwidth?
Okay so What exactly is Bandwidth?
It’s like the data, that you are allocated by your web hosting company. So say for e.g.,. you are granted 100mb/month bandwidth, and you upload your website which is 10mb in size ( it’s just an example).
So, for every user, your server will consume 10mb to load the site, right? So technically, once you get 10hits, 100mb’s are consumed, and your site goes down.
Or, if you’re on a managed server, it expands itself for some extra charge. So basically, that’s what bandwidth is. Now it’s up to your choice and needs to decide how much of bandwidth you need.
#2 Storage Space
You probably know about this, and it’s one of the only factors you check while getting your servers, but still let me get it here so as to make sure you’re not missing anything.
Okay, so you go to a web hosting company’s home-page, and 90% of them list “unlimited” in the space section. Do you really think they’re so generous just to grant you unlimited space?
So even if they do say “unlimited”, it’s not really unlimited. Go over to their terms and conditions page or tab, and check it out. In most cases, there’s a bar which is considered as unlimited, and crossing that isn’t allowed.
But again, in most cases the bar is high enough actually to make it seem like it’s unlimited, but in reality, it’s not. So it’s again up to you to decide how high your bar holds up.
#3 Domains & Sub-domains:
It’s one of the aspects that you should be considering ( if you aren’t already ), while finalizing your web hosting company.
I own more than 10domains, and why won’t I? There always is a new idea on my mind, and the first thing I do is get the domain. In fact, by this survey from WebHostingTalk, more than 20% people own over 20 domains!
What happens, in most companies the basic plan, the cheapest one has the capability hold one domain, means one site.
Are you really sure that you won’t ever be starting another site? Once your current site starts doing well, most people go for another site, and then another.
What’s the point in spending so much of extra money and time in managing all those servers? And especially if you can manage all of them from one dashboard itself?
So, do checkout how many domains and sub-domains your server supports. So that, you can be clear about the possibility to be able to add more domains to the same server or not.
One of the most important aspects of a good server is the uptime.
All the other factors, all of them, would matter only if your server has a good uptime score. If your site is down, the other factors of storage and bandwidth and speed won’t ever matter.
So okay, you need a site that has good uptime. But how would you know that? Most sites list 99% as their uptime.
Worry not, here I’m listing some tools which will help you calculate any specific companies’ uptime, and accordingly you can decide.
Site to monitor site uptime:-
- ServiceUptime.com etc.
#5 Upgrading the server.
You don’t expect yourself to be on the same level a year from today too, right?
Of course your traffic, site size and all other factors would increase over time, and so would you want to perform a full server migration every time you see a level hike?
Of course not, right? It’s just too must of hassle trying to migrate a site from one server to another, so the best option is, to check it out before hand, if your site allows you to upgrade your plan, or not.
The shared servers are cool, as long as you’re at around 30K hits a month, once you exceed that limit, you wouldn’t want to depress your customers with patience sucking speed and downtimes, right?
So it’s always a good thing to check if your server allows you a planned upgrade, or not.If it does, it’s cool. If it doesn’t, it’d be definitely a bad call.
#6 Signup: Next year charges ratio:
It’s a very common, (but strangely, working even now marketing tactic).
What most companies do is, they provide the first year of service almost free, almost, at around 90% of discount of the normal charges. People go crazy and get them.
But the point worth noting here is, after a year, their site grows, a lot. And it’s not an easy task migrating a domain, but on the other hand, the server company now asks for a 90% increased price, compared to what they signed up with.
So it’s a mess, you can’t change your server, and it’s hard paying for such huge amount of money. But guess what? You could’ve avoided this by simply being a bit more careful during the signup.
So next time you’re going to any web hosting company, does make sure to check out the “signup: renewal” ratio.
#7 Refund policy:
It’s one of the bet ways to check their honest about their services.
Well, there are couple questions you should be asking if you’re going into the refund policy thing. For e.g.,.
- Will you be paid in full when you cancel your service?
- Will you be paid to the payment method ( e.g., bank / Credit card ) or will the amount just be paid in usable credits to your account?
- In which situations exactly you’ll be paid the money.
The reason you need to check this is, there are fishes out there who would charge you even when you cancel your services, yes! All of this is hidden in small texts in the terms and conditions, so the one way to avoid all of these is to go through ( I know it’s long, but that’s why they make it long ) the T&C policies.
#8. Cron Jobs
If you’re among the a bit advanced species, you’d definitely want on jobs.
Cron Jobs are jobs that can be scheduled by you, on your server. They can be anything you choose; the point is many servers don’t include cron jobs in the basic plan, or even in the advanced.
So it’s a good thing to check the web hosting company for the availability of Cron Jobs, because even if you don’t need it today, there might come a time when you’d want to start scheduling things, and that’s exactly when I don’t want you to regret.
#9. Coding Languages Supported:-
Okay so almost no one, no one goes about checking the languages that a certain web hosting company support. As a result, when running any specific script on your site, which requires certain languages, your site just won’t work.
There are lots of languages that have been developed and are being used right? Ruby, Python, PHP and what not. Well yes PHP is the most commonly supported language, but what about the rest?
If you’re thinking you don’t need them, you’re wrong because there are certain scripts that your site might demand in future, which in turn will demand these specific languages.
So it’s always a safe play to go about checking the languages that the web hosting company supports.
#10. Backup options:-
This is one of the most, most important aspects that you should consider, after the uptime calculation.
You definitely don’t want to lose your site data by a server error, or external attack. So basically, you’d want to make sure that there are timely backups available, and the option to restore them should be easy, right?
What many sites do is, they let you create the backup but you can restore it only after paying up a certain amount, or in some cases there’s no backup option at all!
Now that’s bad news, so make sure there’s daily, weekly, or at least monthly backup option available with your company if you value your hard work.
If there’s no backup option, and you just have to stick with the server then make sure it at least has Cron Access, well yeah cron jobs come in handy when you’re talking about auto-manual backups.
#11. 1-click Script installs:-
Well, most companies do include a 1-click auto install interface for most popular web apps like WordPress, BbPress or any other script of that sort.
But still, there are companies which don’t let you do that. You’ve to upload manually and configure everything, and that’s what makes you cry.
So technically, always choose a company which has the 1-click script installation feature.
I kept the best for the last, the Speed.
No matter how cool your site is, and how many feature your web hosting company has got, if it’s a slow one, nothing else matters.
According to a research, the first impression is formed in 1/12th of a second, now just imagine where your first impression will be, if you site takes a decade to load, and yeah also as the old saying goes “ the first impression is the last impression.” So I guess I’m clear on how important speed is for your site, right?
Now, you need to make sure your server has good speed, right? Although there’s no definite method to check speed with accuracy, I’d suggest go for the reviews section, or get in touch with people who are on that certain web server, and their review is generally the most honest opinion you’d get anywhere.
This is the final, and the basic feature you just can’t ignore.
Not everyone of us here is a coder, or developer, we need help fighting certain issues and errors on the server right?
Now, along with the help, we need to make sure that it comes fast, because if there’s an error you just can’t wait a week, with your site in a nonfunctional mode for the help to arrive, right?
So, do check the support team of the company you’re going with. What you should be checking?
- What are the modes of support? For eg. Email, Ticket, Live Chat or Phone cal a ls (Phone call is the best of course).
- What is their average response time.
- Are they available 24/7 ? Because you might be in a different country than their support team, so you need to make sure that the time zone difference doesn’t cost you “waiting time” in return.
And once you’ve evaluated these questions, go for it, or don’t. Your choice.
The above aspects are what determine your site’s future. No I’m not bluffing, choose a wrong company and your career is doomed even before it has started.
Having a good Web-host is a very important aspect, as you already know, but choosing a good web-host is a little bit more complicated than that, so that’s the reason of me compiling this list for you.
Make sure that your web host has a positive side, to all of the above factors and it should be fine.
Although it’s worth mentioning that, what is good for me, might not be your need. So you need to make sure that you know exactly what you need, and then go for it. Because just starting a blog and going for a 200$/mo VPS plan isn’t the best strategy either.
So, know your needs, and work on them.
Oh and there’s a definite possibility that I might have missed something so I’d love it if you mention it in the comments. It’s always a good hear from your side.